ADD YOUR NAME AND A MESSAGE of support and solidarity. Sign the card here.
We will print out the card, signatures, and messages on Saturday, June 30, 2023.
For the first time in its 165-year-long history, on June 23, 2023, Temple Beth Israel, a Reform synagogue in Macon Georgia was the victim of a Nazi attack. Last Friday afternoon, members of the “Goyim Defense League,” an overtly antisemitic hate group gathered outside the state’s second-oldest shul. They wore swasticas, yelled “Heil Hitler,” and hung a life-size effigy of an LGBTQ+ Jew from a lamp post.
Antisemitism is among the oldest and longest-lasting forms of hatred. In the Middle Ages, it took the form of laws that forbid Jews from owning land (thereby, preventing them from farming) and living among Christians. During the Spanish Inquisition, the faith was banned entirely. It was during this, in 1492, the Caro (my paternal grandmother) line of my family was expelled from Spain, and it was the programs of Eastern Europe that led the other lines of my family to flee and seek safety in the United States. During our recent travels to Europe to meet with the International FOR committee, FOR-USA Executive Director Ariel and Gold and Director of Operations, Susan Smith, and I visited a memorial to the 1506 town square riot that led to the murder of 2,000-4,000 Jews in Lisbon, Portugal.
Current expressions of Jew-hatred rarely focus only on Jews. The 2017 Tree of Life Synagogue massacre in Pittsburgh, PA ( the largest antisemitic attack in U.S. history) was a manifestation of the antisemitic white Christian nationalist conspiracy theory (encouraged by then-President Trump) that Jews were behind the caravans of migrants seeking refuge inside the belly of the beast that is America. Last Friday’s vile hate demonstration was a combination of antisemitism and homophobia and transphobia.
As horrifying as the convergences of multiple forms of hate can be, there’s also a grand opportunity here for us to show the intersectionality of love and justice. FOR-USA and International FOR (IFOR) have been refusing conscription to war and militarism for over a century and we simultaneously conscientiously object to Christian nationalism, anti-LGBTQ+ hatred, racism, Islamophobia, Zionism (aka Jewish supremacy), antisemitism, misogyny, and all other forms of violence.
This Sunday, July 2, 2023, Temple Beth Israel will be holding hosting an interfaith service for the congregations in the area in the pursuit of “radical empathy… to show that there are many many more people who support the Jewish community here and engage with us in a loving way than the very small group of people who have only anger and fear in their hearts.” If you are in the Macon, GA area and able, please join the service and ask your fellow congregants to join you. If you are not, please show your love by signing your name and writing a message of solidarity on this card that we will print out and send on June 30.
I couldn’t have been prouder in 2015 when my children’s (Reform Jewish) summer camp became the first in the country to welcome transgender campers upon the request of then-12-year-old Hannah Gendler who had transitioned her gender since the previous summer. Later in the year, the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) Biennial, passed the most far-reaching resolution on transgender rights of any major religious organization. Join FOR-USA in Reclaiming the Name of G-d from those who seek to blasphemize religion in the pursuit of hatred by adding your signature to our card in support of Temple Beth Israel as they and the rest of the Macon, GA faith community join together in love.